By Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor
In January, Hazelwood Initiative said goodbye to our outreach and sustainability director, Tiffany Taulton. She will be joining the Congress of Neighboring Communities and doing more of the important work she has done in Hazelwood, but on a larger scale.
When I started at Hazelwood Initiative in 2021, Tiffany was in the thick of helping sign people up for pandemic rent relief. She worked feverishly with renters, landlords and other local housing nonprofits to help residents stay in their homes.
Through her efforts and those of the interns she managed, over $1 million in rent relief came into Hazelwood to prevent displacement.
When she (and more interns) distributed the rent from Propel School as Neighborhood Investment Fund grants, she again worked tirelessly with neighbor after neighbor to help keep people’s rent paid and utilities on.
While I admire Tiffany’s deep commitment to fighting displacement, I have also learned a lot from her.
She has taught me by sharing her vision for Hazelwood as a neighborhood that is beautiful, healthy and climate resilient. I didn’t know sustainability was essential to fighting gentrification until I met Tiffany.
She opened my eyes to the importance of improving air quality and the health of residents through community gardening and planting trees to cool down the neighborhood. She got 710 trees planted!
I did not know that solar panels can help prevent displacement by lowering residents’ energy costs and reducing pollution. But Tiffany knows this, so she helped organize what became the largest solar co-op in the state, through which she raised funds to get free solar panels for eight Hazelwood homes.
Tiffany holds out a vision of Hazelwood as a place where people can play and exercise outdoors. She has improved the greenway trails, brought in the goats to clear invasive plants, led dozens of hikes, organized clean-ups and plantings at Lytle Land and around the neighborhood. Her greenway project was named a finalist for a UN climate change award and her advocacy helped the greenway become a city park.
Given all of that, I am in no way surprised that Tiffany will now be sharing this vision and her impressive abilities on a broader scale. But I will miss her.
On the bright side, she still lives in Hazelwood, so hopefully we will all see her around.